Being generous with your time when walking a patient through their treatment plan is crucial. Time is one of three areas that make up the foundation for successful acceptance. The other two are how patients’ objections are handled and how affordability is presented. When it comes to the time factor and how the treatment plan is explained and “sold,” there is often a disconnect between the “presenter.” and the patient.
In a previous newsletter, I talked about how dentists or whoever presents treatment plans to patients often prejudge even before they start presenting. I want to go back to that point to elaborate some more. A significant percentage of nonacceptance is the presenter’s fault. No question at all. How and why is that?
An “objection” is not the “enemy.”
It is a common scenario that whoever presents the treatment plan does not want to deal with objections. It’s a subconscious fear of being unable to answer the patient’s questions satisfactorily. Let’s make one thing clear. An “objection” is not the “enemy.” The word objection means nothing else but patients asking questions. That is all. The presenters turn the patient’s questions into a problem in their minds and see it as a reluctance on the patient’s part to say yes. No patient comes to the practice saying to themselves, “No matter what, I am not going to say yes, and I won’t accept the treatment the dentist tells me I need)
Patients don’t “object” they only want answers that allow them to say YES.
Stop thinking about how patients will object to treatment plans. Looking for reasons why they cannot accept or pay for the whole (complete) treatment is self-sabotage.
The following happens quite a lot.
The person presenting suddenly starts altering the initial plan. Why do they do that? It’s the fear of objections. That happens more often when it is a more extensive treatment plan. Treatment plans are then presented in “steps” This is silly. The presenter says something like. “I tell you what I can do, Mr. or Mrs. XYZ; we start with such and such a treatment.” (They do not inform the patient that there is more to come and that initial failure leads to not getting a complete treatment plan acceptance, which spells a significant loss of revenue.)
Don’t decide for the patient.
Another common sin is committed by thinking that a patient might object to a better form of treatment option and presenting only a poorer alternative. For example, a patient has two or three missing teeth, and the doctor suggests a partial denture without talking to the patient about other options, for example, bridge(s) or implants.
That is an example of a dentist taking the misguided step of deciding for the patient, believing they would not have accepted the complete treatment plan anyway. In most cases, the patient would have said yes to the entire treatment plan. Why not allow the patient to decide for themselves?
True or False?
Patients will always have questions, but not all questions are “objections.” It depends on the presenter’s communication skills to separate the real concerns of a patient from the false ones. In other words, The false ones are “made up” by the patient, so they do not have to disclose the genuine reasons why they don’t want or can’t proceed. The “made-up” reason is often used when there is no logical reason not to move with the treatment.
Anyone who can determine the difference between true and false gains a significant advantage. What to do in either case is a great skill to acquire. How? I will cover that in the next edition of the newsletter. Thank you for your time.